Everyone talks about “The Cloud” as an option for virtual computing and storage. It’s become a technological buzzword. But, in fact, there are all different clouds, and all different types of clouds, which have different uses depending on your needs. It’s important to understand all of your options and know which one is right for you before jumping into a cloud computing solution. Let’s take a look at private clouds, how they’re set up, and some of their practical applications.
What Is a Private Cloud?
A private cloud is a virtual environment that’s specifically tailored to meet the needs of a single organization. Unlike a public cloud, which provides the same basic framework for all of its users, a private cloud can be customized to perform the functions you want in the way you want, as well as scaled in size to meet your specific needs.
Some organizations choose to build their own private cloud from the ground up. This is a huge investment, requiring you to buy and maintain your own servers, which are not only expensive to purchase, but also use a tremendous amount of power and take up a large amount of space. For a company that has a lot of cloud usage, it can save money in the long run by eliminating regular payments to a cloud provider. However, it’s generally only a practical option for large corporations.
Instead, most companies choose to invest in private cloud hosting by a third party. The cloud provider owns all of the servers and other hardware, but instead of renting it all out to just anyone, as with a public cloud, a private cloud gives each client their own dedicated server on which to build their infrastructure. Private cloud services are more expensive than public ones, and are typically tied to a long term contract. However, the dedicated servers also offer significantly more privacy and security. Like any system, it’s still vulnerable to attacks unless you take proper precautions, but since you aren’t sharing the server with other users, it’s much more difficult to get into your data and applications. Private cloud providers also generally offer basic support for implementation and day to day operations.
Private Cloud Applications
Public clouds are good for temporary functions and smaller amounts of usage. Private clouds are a more significant investment, which makes them more practical for larger scale usage. Additionally, since private clouds offer better network security, they’re often used for issues of compliance. The healthcare, retail, and accounting fields all have specific government privacy and security standards that companies are required to meet, which forbids data storage on a public cloud. A private cloud is necessary to guarantee data security.
Private clouds can also be used for Software as a Service applications, such as Enterprise Resource Planning. Companies such as SAP provide private cloud hosting for their services, as well as a basic infrastructure which users can scale and customize at will.
Whether you build it yourself or have it hosted by someone else, a private cloud is a major investment. However, it provides privacy and flexibility that public clouds don’t, and can save you money in the long run. If you plan on using cloud computing long term, a private cloud solution is probably the option for you.
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